Former Cyclone Varner Takes Olympic Gold
LONDON - Former Iowa State two-time NCAA champion Jake Varner captured the Olympic gold medal in men's freestyle wrestling at 96 kg/211 lbs. on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0, 1-0 win over Ukraine's Valerii Andiitsev at the ExCeL North Arena. Varner follows his 2011 World bronze-medal finish with his first Olympic medal.
Varner is the sixth Iowa State wrestler to earn an Olympic Gold Medal. He joins Glen Brand (1948), Dan Gable (1972), Ben Peterson (1972), current Cyclone head coach Kevin Jackson (1992) and former head coach Cael Sanderson (2004) as Iowa Staters who stood on top of the Olympic platform.
"At Iowa State we have a legacy of champions," Jackson said. "Now Jake joins people like Gable and Peterson. I am just glad I got to coach him for a year. I am just so happy for him."
Varner won the first period by converting an ankle pick takedown for one point. He scored his point in the second period on a scramble on the edge and earning the pushout.
"Every time I step on the mat I expect to win," Varner told Craig Sesker of USA Wrestling after the match. "This is exciting. I came in here with a goal of winning a gold medal and I did my job for our team. I'm just enjoying the moment right now. I will probably have some chocolate milk or a Mountain Dew to celebrate."
Varner is coached by former undefeated Iowa State four-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson. Varner was a four-time NCAA Division I All-America and four-time NCAA finalist at Iowa State. Varner is originally from Bakersfield, Calif.